Stop The Congestion Charge Extension 2020
We are writing to express our concern with the proposed changes to the Congestion Charge from 22 June 2020.
Firstly, we are surprised that the congestion charge should be extended both in terms of daily time and to cover weekends without careful consultation. It has an impact on business, residents on both sides of the edge of the zone and religious groups (churches etc.). Rather than any analytical evidence or impact assessment this decision appears to have been made arbitrarily to try and generate revenue due to difficulties at TfL.
Secondly, we appreciate the current need to keep footfall in London low, but it would seem counter intuitive to drive people onto public transport that we are currently told to avoid. Furthermore, the extension of hours in the evening and at weekends will severely inhibit people who meet at churches, attend community events, and visit family members. For example, there are some congregants who are over 60s, have health difficulties and their only means of transport (especially in the current circumstance) would be by car. The proposed approach would restrict and severely affect their lives and attendance at their place of worship. As you are aware the steps taken by Transport for London affect free travel and impose a cost if the car is taken into the central London Congestion Charge Zone. In effect some will be faced with a 15 pound charge twice or three times a week to practice their religion at a time outside of the peak hours in London.
Thirdly, the fact this step has not been imposed before would demonstrate that the centre of London has not been considered as congested on Saturday’s and Sunday especially in the office and more residential areas and these people should not be forgotten. Weekend and evening activity when the commuters and office workers are gone helps form the life blood of the enduring community as people in and out of the Congestion Charge gather together.
Were this extension to continue beyond this current crisis it would show a scant regard to the religious communities that come together in the heart to of London and designates a patch of central London non-reachable for religious services unless you have the appropriate level of wealth. The very opposite of what we would hope the Government, the Mayor and TfL would want to achieve.
Please postpone the introduction of the weekend/evening extension until proper assessments have been made and after a full consultation period with all parties effected.